Homeowners could pay hundreds more a year in taxes if housing bond measure passes

The newly created Bay Area Housing Finance Authority is using this photograph on its website to illustrate its plans for a property tax increase. Photo by LiPo Ching, Courtesy Midpen Housing.

Daily Post Correspondent

Bay Area officials are getting closer to approving a November ballot measure that would ask voters for a property tax increase to raise up to $20 billion for affordable housing across the region. 

The Bay Area Housing Finance Authority board will discuss the potential ballot measure today, in one of the final steps before the board votes next month on placing it on the Nov. 5 ballot. BAHFA is a joint effort of two regional planning agencies: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). 

A voter survey this month will help BAHFA decide whether to ask for $10 billion or $20 billion in the ballot measure, known as the 2024 Bay Area Affordable Housing Bond. 

How much the measure would increase property tax also remains to be seen. Estimates this month say a $20 billion bond would require a tax hike of about $19 per $100,000 of assessed value, or around $190 a year for a home with an assessed value of $1 million. The assessed value of homes is usually lower than their market value. 

Proponents say a $20 billion bond measure would pay for construction or preservation of 72,000 affordable homes in the nine-county Bay Area over the next 15 years. That would be double the number of homes built or preserved without the bond, BAHFA said in a draft report on the housing plan last month. 

“The lack of affordable homes impacts everyone,” the report said. “Freeways are more congested from workers driving farther than if they could afford to live closer to their jobs; businesses struggle to hire and retain employees; and many long-time residents are
forced to move away.” 

But critics are calling the bond measure “a blank check” in which funding allocations can be changed after it’s approved. 

“Without specific plans or projects identified, voters have no clear understanding of how their tax dollars will be used to ensure the maximum impact on affordability,” Maxine Terner, a member of San Mateo Community College District’s bond oversight committee and a former member of the San Mateo Planning Commission, said in an email to the Post. 

Some seniors say they want to be exempted from the property tax increase.
And the League of Women Voters of the Bay Area said last month that it’s holding off on deciding whether to support the bond measure. 

“We are concerned that there has been no robust discussion regarding an independent, citizens’ oversight committee,” League officials said in a letter to the ABAG executive board. 

The ABAG executive board last month approved a resolution sending the ballot measure to the BAHFA board to decide the amount of the bond measure. 

The BAHFA board is expected to vote June 26 on placing the bond measure on the ballot. BAHFA will also approve the ballot question, the text of the ballot measure and a statement regarding tax impacts of the measure. 

As things now stand, the bond measure would need a two-thirds vote to pass. But voters in November will also decide on a proposal to lower the approval threshold to 55% for bond measures to fund affordable housing and certain other purposes. 

BAHFA’s preliminary report said that with a $20 billion bond measure, San Mateo County’s share would be $2.1 billion. Santa Clara County, excluding San Jose, would receive $2.4 billion, while the city of San Jose would get $2.1 billion. 

Under the draft proposal, $10.4 billion of the $20 billion would go toward building at least 36,000 new affordable homes. Another $3 billion would be used to preserve existing affordable housing. For example, developers or community land trusts could ask for money to buy older apartment buildings and renovate them, while agreeing to keep the apartments affordable long term. 

The remaining $6 billion would go toward “flexible” uses, such as providing down payment assistance or improving roads or parks to benefit affordable housing residents.


  1. I’m strongly for this ballot measure. Our region has a housing crisis. A big part of the solution is public funding for affordable homes, and this ballot measure would provide $10 or $20 billion of such funds. (We also need to upzone to allow construction of new infill homes at all affordability levels, and to protect incumbent renters.)

    This measure would raise property taxes — reportedly, a $190 tax increase per $1 million of home value. Nobody likes to pay higher taxes. But those of us who enjoy the many benefits of home ownership, including the very unfair tax advantage of Prop 13, should be willing to do our part to ensure that lower-income people have an easier time finding an affordable home in our region.

    • Shouldnt the big employers pay more into this? They created the demand that drives up housing costs. Then they push this measure to make the victims of their unbridled growth pay for their excesses. I’m voting NO. Make the Googles, Metas and Amazons pay.

    • Then you pay it, Ms. Liberal. In fact, you can pay my “share” of it. I’m voting NO in this tax-crazy Third World socialist state.

  2. Adam is probably new to the area, but voters approved a $1 billion housing bond in 2016 known as Measure A. That was supposed to solve this problem. Where did that money go?

  3. While I support affordable housing, I won’t support this until they stop building more offices in Builder’s Remedy projects that are being forced on us by the “housing” lobby who are really the developer lobby. Kook at the plans for the SRI site: 5,000 NEW office jobs and only 850 housing units with only a few ‘affordable”

    I also won’t support this until they stop the gig worker companies like DoorDash, Uber, Lyft from underpaying their workers WHILE spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying against paying them ANY benefits including unemployment.

    The Bay Area’s already mandated to add 2,000,000 housing units even though we’re in a drought, have roads that are falling apart with no money / will to fix them…

  4. The true cost is over $48 BILLION dollars because taxpayers have to pay the $20 Billion of bonds PLUS the interest over 30 years. That number is in the staff report from BAHFA that was presented at the meeting this week.

  5. Instead of this bond measure, how about an immigrant tax? If you move to the Bay Area and expect free government housing, you will have to pay a tax. If you need to get a second job to pay the tax, that’s OK, since a lot of us taxpayers have two jobs just to make ends meet.

  6. We’ve passed housing taxes before and the money was wasted. I’ll only consider voting for this if they tell us where and when the homes will be built. I’d like to see addresses and cost estimates for each project. If they only make vague promises with no specifics, I’m voting No.

  7. I’m reminded of the adage: there goes the neighborhood. “Affordable housing” programs destroy towns by attracting more crime-prone people to move into areas where people worked hard and saved to afford their homes, eventually driving out the productive. This is also why I oppose school choice – even though I generally support policies that promote more freedom – because, like affordable housing, school vouchers allow trouble-maker kids who don’t belong in school to ruin it for the serious students. And I believe destroying neighborhoods and schools are the intended purpose of these programs.

    That all said, I kind of hope the measure passes. Post-2020, anything that further sinks Commiefornia is fine by with me.

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